Lance Scranton: Time well spent
“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown, waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”
— Pink Floyd, “Time”
Say what you like about ’70s rock lyrics, but the bands seemed to have captured the essence of a familiar problem. I spend much of my time trying to understand why kids are bored, while they “fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.” Some kids, no matter how busy you keep them, still think they are bored. Parents think, rightly so, that if we keep them busy, they won’t have time to get bored.
A common problem, born out of our culture that places a high value on identity through proving ourselves by our particular talents and abilities, is that unless we are engaged directly in activity that will improve our particular interest, we feel compelled to find it boring.
Reading is boring because it serves no relevant purpose if I want to be a star athlete! Math is useless because I might never use it as a coal miner! History is a waste — studying what happened years ago has no bearing on my life! Science? I’m not going to be a college professor! Agricultural science? That’s for farmers. Welding is fun but not for someone planning to go to college. Physical education? How is playing pickleball going to help me in any way?
Try as I might to fan the flame of learning, many kids find it easier to compartmentalize their interests and disregard the value of a well-rounded education. As coaches, we explain the substantive affect of building self-discipline by earning good grades and learning how to use every possible brain pathway available to ensure physical, mental and spiritual success. The discipline of learning generates a host of fundamental skills that are valuable for our entire lives.
Unfortunately, Pink Floyd’s lyrics can hold true, and some will be “kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown.” However, “waiting for someone or something to show you the way” might not be what you had hoped for when the decision-making is taken away from you and you’re left finding excuses like: It’s those teachers’ fault because they didn’t try harder to make you listen in class.
Time has a way of exposing our excuses and bringing reality into the light of day. Don’t get bored this summer — there is plenty to do!